Shared Governance, Academic Freedom and Principles Governing Systemwide Initiatives with Curricular Implications
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate California State University (CSU) strongly reaffirm the principles of shared governance and the primacy of the faculty in determining curriculum in the CSU as provided for in the Policy Documents & Reports of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), “Academic Freedom, Tenure and Due Process;” the California Government Code of Regulations, sections 3560 (c) and sections 3561 (b) and (c) which ensure that the development and execution of curriculum within the CSU be insulated from political influence; and in the Principles and Policies: Papers of the Academic Senate CSU (pp. 51-57) which provide that the faculty has the primary responsibility for curricular decisions; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU strongly urge that any current systemwide initiatives/committees that have curricular implications (including but not limited to Facilitating Graduation, Transforming Course Design, Lower Division Transfer Patterns, the Early Assessment Program, the Academic Technology Advisory Committee, and the General Education Advisory Committee) or future initiatives/committees that impact curriculum adhere to a set of principles that include the following:
- The Academic Senate CSU will be consulted in the preliminary stages whenever new initiatives/committees are being considered.
- The proposal process for new initiatives/committees will be widely advertised so all constituencies are aware of the initiatives/committees, and sufficient time will be given to allow a consultative and considered response.
- The membership of any committee, task force or other group that may be formed as a result of systemwide initiatives will include significant faculty representation.
- When conflicts occur between academic freedom/curricular authority and systemwide initiatives/committee recommendations, resolution will be weighted toward the principles of academic freedom/curricular authority.
- All members of committees, task forces or parties involved- intersegmental or otherwise –that have been or may be formed as a result of systemwide initiatives will be informed of the principles of academic freedom/curricular authority as articulated by the AAUP, in the California Government Code of Regulations, and in Principles and Policies: Papers of the Academic Senate CSU.
- All members of such groups as mentioned in the above bullet should be involved in consultation in a timely manner so that consultation may affect decisions before they have been finalized.
- Committee, task force, or other group decisions regarding curriculum shall reflect the principles of academic freedom/curricular authority.
RATIONALE: Recent legislative and CSU administrative pressures have led to a Facilitating Graduation initiative. As a result, a number of new committees that deal with curricular issues have been formed, in addition to those committees that have a longer history in the CSU. These events have given rise to escalating concerns that academic freedom and excellence, as well as the faculty’s curricular authority, have been compromised in order to move students through the university as quickly as possible.
In a system of the size and complexity of the CSU, it is important to develop certain efficiencies and economies of scale. However, these needs must continuously and consistently be balanced against the goals of maintaining academic freedom and excellence, and the faculty’s rights and responsibilities relative to curricular integrity and development. These priorities assist in ensuring that such a balance be achieved and maintained.
Unanimously – May 8-9, 2008